IBM Will Now See Your Avatar

IBM's (NYSE: IBM  ) forays into radio frequency identification (RFID) and medical search engine technologies have been positioning the company to profit handsomely from the lucrative health-care market by helping both doctors and hospitals become more efficient.

It now appears that IBM isn't satisfied in helping just the physical you. It is creating a 3-D representation of you in the form of an avatar on which all your digital health-care information can be quickly and easily displayed and, thus, accessed by a doctor.

Dubbed the Anatomic and Symbolic Mapper Engine (ASME), the software will allow a doctor to use a mouse to click on any part of your avatar's "body," which will trigger a search of all relevant medical records.

If you have a history of back pain, for instance, this technology would pull up all your X-rays, radiographs, MRIs, labs results, prescriptions, and any other information that your doctor noted in your previous visits.

It is a very promising technology, especially to patients like me who don't enjoy being asked the same questions or being poked and prodded in the same areas at every doctor visit. This technology might save you that hassle and instead force your digital stand-in to deal with those assorted indignities.

I have said before and will say again, the health-care industry is poised for radical changes in the years ahead; but the companies leading the way won't be the traditional health-care companies. They'll be the computer and information technology leaders -- among them, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and, as this latest innovation demonstrates, IBM.

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